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Extracting desired data using the proper Census variable names can be time-consuming. This package takes the pain out of that process.

The use case is best illustrated by an example. Suppose you want age-by-race information at the tract level. Unfortunately, the Census Bureau doesn’t publish a specific age-by-race table. You could build one yourself from public-use microdata, but that lacks tract-level geographic information, for privacy reasons. So you are left trying to find an existing Census product that you can extract age-by-race information from.

Unless you’re a Census pro, you won’t know what exactly what is off the top of your head. But suppose you know you’d like to get the data from the decennial census, since it covers the whole nation and asks about age and race. easycensus provides the find_dec_table() function to help you locate exactly which decennial census table to use to get the data you want.

library(easycensus)

find_dec_table(age, race)
#> 
#> ── Top 2 matching tables ───────────────────────────────────────────────────────
#> 
#>  P012  - SEX BY AGE
#> Parsed variables:
#> • sex
#> • age
#> • race_ethnicity
#> Example values:
#> • female / 45 to 49 years / black or african american alone
#> • female / 20 years / two or more races
#> • male / 55 to 59 years / american indian and alaska native alone
#> 
#>  PCT012  - SEX BY AGE
#> Parsed variables:
#> • sex
#> • age
#> • race_ethnicity
#> Example values:
#> • female / 70 years / total
#> • female / 85 years / native hawaiian and other pacific islander alone
#> • female / 30 years / two or more races

We can see right away that our best bet is either table P012 or table PCT012, depending on whether we want age in 5-year groups or down to individual years. Let’s say you’re OK with the five-year bins. Then all you need to do to get your data is to call get_dec_table().

d_cens = get_dec_table("tract", "P012", state="AK", county="Nome")
print(d_cens)
#> # A tibble: 9,600 × 7
#>    GEOID       NAME                    variable value sex   age   race_ethnicity
#>    <chr>       <chr>                   <chr>    <dbl> <fct> <fct> <fct>         
#>  1 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome C… P012002   3053 male  total total         
#>  2 02180000200 Census Tract 2, Nome C… P012002   2005 male  total total         
#>  3 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome C… P012003    359 male  unde… total         
#>  4 02180000200 Census Tract 2, Nome C… P012003    175 male  unde… total         
#>  5 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome C… P012004    318 male  5 to… total         
#>  6 02180000200 Census Tract 2, Nome C… P012004    132 male  5 to… total         
#>  7 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome C… P012005    294 male  10 t… total         
#>  8 02180000200 Census Tract 2, Nome C… P012005    161 male  10 t… total         
#>  9 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome C… P012006    165 male  15 t… total         
#> 10 02180000200 Census Tract 2, Nome C… P012006     90 male  15 t… total         
#> # … with 9,590 more rows

easycensus is built on top of the great tidycensus package, so all of the usual arguments to those functions (including the ability to get shapefile information) work here, too.

Once you’ve gotten your labeled data, it’s easy to marginalize out the unneeded sex variable. You can either use group_by() and summarize() as usual, or you can use the marginalize() function in easycensus. This has the added advantage of automatically handling margins of error for ACS data.

library(dplyr)

d_cens = d_cens %>%
    # Drop table margins. Can also use `drop_total=TRUE` in `get_dec_table()`
    filter(age != "total", race_ethnicity != "total") %>%
    marginalize(age, race=race_ethnicity)
print(d_cens)
#> # A tibble: 414 × 5
#> # Groups:   GEOID, NAME, age [46]
#>    GEOID       NAME                                     age          race  value
#>    <chr>       <chr>                                    <fct>        <fct> <dbl>
#>  1 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Area, Alaska 10 to 14 ye… amer…  5240
#>  2 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Area, Alaska 10 to 14 ye… asia…    10
#>  3 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Area, Alaska 10 to 14 ye… blac…    10
#>  4 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Area, Alaska 10 to 14 ye… hisp…    30
#>  5 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Area, Alaska 10 to 14 ye… nati…     0
#>  6 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Area, Alaska 10 to 14 ye… some…     0
#>  7 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Area, Alaska 10 to 14 ye… two …   230
#>  8 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Area, Alaska 10 to 14 ye… whit…   110
#>  9 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Area, Alaska 10 to 14 ye… whit…   100
#> 10 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Area, Alaska 15 to 17 ye… amer…  2930
#> # … with 404 more rows

Finally, you might want to simplify the age and race labels, since they are kind of verbose. easycensus provides a set of tidy_*() functions to assist with this.

d_cens %>%
    mutate(race = tidy_race(race),
           tidy_age_bins(age))
#> # A tibble: 414 × 7
#> # Groups:   GEOID, NAME, age [46]
#>    GEOID       NAME                            age   race  value age_from age_to
#>    <chr>       <chr>                           <fct> <fct> <dbl>    <dbl>  <dbl>
#>  1 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Ar… 10 t… aian   5240       10     14
#>  2 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Ar… 10 t… asian    10       10     14
#>  3 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Ar… 10 t… black    10       10     14
#>  4 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Ar… 10 t… hisp     30       10     14
#>  5 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Ar… 10 t… nhpi      0       10     14
#>  6 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Ar… 10 t… other     0       10     14
#>  7 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Ar… 10 t… two     230       10     14
#>  8 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Ar… 10 t… white   110       10     14
#>  9 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Ar… 10 t… whit…   100       10     14
#> 10 02180000100 Census Tract 1, Nome Census Ar… 15 t… aian   2930       15     17
#> # … with 404 more rows

Dive into the reference to learn more!

Installation

You can install the released version of easycensus from CRAN with:

install.packages("easycensus")

Or install the development version from GitHub with:

# install.packages("devtools")
devtools::install_github("CoryMcCartan/easycensus")